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Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

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Title: Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer  
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Subject: Shadow Cabinet of William Hague, List of current members of the British Privy Council, Ed Balls, John McDonnell (politician), Michael Portillo
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Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
John McDonnell

since 13 September 2015
Appointer Leader of the Opposition
Inaugural holder Rab Butler
Website The Shadow Cabinet

The Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer in the British Parliamentary system is the member of the Shadow Cabinet who is responsible for shadowing the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The title is in the gift of the Leader of the Opposition but is informal. The Shadow Chancellor has no constitutional role.

The name for the position has a mixed history. It is used to designate the lead economic spokesman for the Opposition, although some Shadow Cabinets have not used the term (the Thatcher Shadow Cabinet in the Conservative Party Campaign of 1979). The term has been used interchangeably with "economic spokesperson" by the Liberal Democrats as well as the main opposition party.[1]

This was a source of humour for one time Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, who in 2005 played the two off against one another in Parliament, saying, "I, too, have a great deal of time for the shadow Chancellor who resides in Twickenham [Vince Cable], rather than the shadow Chancellor for the Conservative Party."[2]

The current position of Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer is held by John McDonnell.

List of Shadow Chancellors

Name Portrait Entered office Left office Political party
Rab Butler 10 December 1950 26 October 1951 Conservative
Hugh Gaitskell 26 October 1951 14 December 1955 Labour
Harold Wilson 14 December 1955 2 November 1961 Labour
James Callaghan 2 November 1961 15 October 1964 Labour
Reginald Maudling 15 October 1964 16 February 1965[3] Conservative
Edward Heath 16 February 1965[4] 11 November 1965 Conservative
Iain Macleod 11 November 1965 20 June 1970 Conservative
Roy Jenkins 20 June 1970 19 April 1972 Labour
Denis Healey 19 April 1972 4 March 1974 Labour
Robert Carr 4 March 1974 11 February 1975 Conservative
Geoffrey Howe 11 February 1975 4 May 1979 Conservative
Denis Healey 4 May 1979 8 December 1980 Labour
Peter Shore 8 December 1980 31 October 1983 Labour
Roy Hattersley 31 October 1983 13 July 1987 Labour
John Smith 13 July 1987 24 July 1992 Labour
Gordon Brown Gordon Brown 24 July 1992 2 May 1997 Labour
Kenneth Clarke 2 May 1997 11 June 1997 Conservative
Peter Lilley 11 June 1997 2 June 1998 Conservative
Francis Maude 2 June 1998 1 February 2000 Conservative
Michael Portillo 1 February 2000 18 September 2001 Conservative
Michael Howard 18 September 2001 6 November 2003 Conservative
Oliver Letwin 6 November 2003 10 May 2005 Conservative
George Osborne 10 May 2005 11 May 2010 Conservative
Alistair Darling 11 May 2010 8 October 2010 Labour
Alan Johnson 8 October 2010 20 January 2011 Labour
Ed Balls 20 January 2011 8 May 2015 Labour
Chris Leslie 11 May 2015 12 September 2015 Labour
John McDonnell 13 September 2015 Incumbent Labour


  1. ^ Parker, George (18 October 2014). "Alexander to replace Cable as LibDem shadow chancellor".  
  2. ^ Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster (2005-12-05). "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 5 Dec 2005 (pt 8)". Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  3. ^ Baston 2004, 246
  4. ^ Baston 2004, 246


  • Lewis Baston (2004) Reggie: The Life of Reginald Maudling. Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-2924-3
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